UT answers the CALL for adults returning to collegeWritten by Hannah Nusser | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Going back to college can be a scary thought. The University of Toledo’s College of Adult and Lifelong Learning is striving to better assist adults and nontraditional students in making the transition back to school.
As part of UT’s major reorganization plan, the former University College is now the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning (CALL), combining what officials call innovative advising methods with past successful strategies for helping nontraditional students on their back-to-school journeys.
CALL gives more flexibility to nontraditional students, said Dennis Lettman, dean of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning.
“A lot of folks [are] out of work these days and they can no longer wait to go back to the same jobs they were in because those jobs won’t exist anymore,” Lettman said. “They’ll be looking for other opportunities, and we can work with them.”
While it will offer its own majors and degree programs, CALL will also work with every college within the university to help students earn the degree they need, he said. Whether it’s a bachelor’s degree to become more marketable in the job field, or someone who is unemployed and wants to earn a degree quickly, Lettman said the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning will work with students in any situation.
Instead of traditional 16-week courses, students will have the option to finish some courses in six or eight weeks. More evening classes will be offered for those who work during the day, and courses will be given in shorter time frames for those with tight schedules.
“Along with all of those instructional methods we think it’s very, very important to be able to provide the right kind of support services for students,” Lettman said.
Advisers will go one step further to act as life coaches, he said. They will accommodate students’ schedules, consulting with them in person, by phone or e-mail to help them overcome hurdles like scheduling, financial burdens and time constraints.
“To an adult student, time is a commodity,” Lettman said. “It’s as important as money.”
Flexibility is key to making efficient and effective use of everyone’s time, Lettman said.
Another development within the college is the Prior Learning Assessments, in which students can earn college credit for life experience. Working in the job field, participating in educational workshops or in the military are just some ways students can earn credit for their experiences.
“[The] Prior Learning Assessment is a way in which we can work with students to be able to document all that learning and actually get credit for classes so they don’t have to sit through classes, so they don’t have to pay for all the classes,” Lettman said. “It’s another way to offset the cost.”
CALL also offers special services for veterans and students in the military. UT now provides a Military Services Center, located in Rocket Hall, with staff equipped to advise and answer questions specific to veteran and military students.
UT continues to offer “Returning to Learning” workshops. The workshops, which are open to the community, give patrons an opportunity to discuss their options and specific situations with UT staff.
“Sometimes there can be some reluctance to come back to school,” Lettman said. “Because it seems like a big place, it’s kind of scary and you’re not sure … we want to try to be out there in a way that makes people feel welcome and comfortable and to want to come back.”
Due to the pending reorganization of UT’s colleges, CALL may receive a name change to the School of Adult and Lifelong Learning, though it will continue its mission to assist adult learners, Lettman said.